Books


BECOMING DR. SEUSS (2019)

The definitive, fascinating, all-reaching biography of Dr. Seuss

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Dr. Seuss is a classic American icon. His work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children. More than twenty-five years after his death, his books continue to find new readers, now grossing over half a billion dollars in sales. His whimsical illustrations and silly, simple rhymes are timeless favorites because, quite simply, he makes us laugh.

Theodor Geisel, however, led a life that goes much deeper than the prolific and beloved children’s book author. In fact, the allure and fascination of Dr. Seuss begins with this second, more radical side. He had a successful career as a political cartoonist, and his political leanings can be felt throughout his books–remember the environmentalist of The Lorax? Geisel was a complicated man, who introduced generations to the wonders of reading while teaching young people about empathy and how to treat others well.

Coming right off the heels of multiple books-of-the-month- and year-winner George Lucas and the bestselling Jim Henson, Brian is quickly developing a reputation as a master biographer of the creative geniuses of our time.


GEORGE LUCAS: A LIFE (2016)

A Kirkus “Best Books of 2016”

“A sweeping, perceptive biography.” — Kirkus (Starred Review)
“A whiz-bang tribute.” — People
“Admirably comprehensive.” — The Washington Post
“A must-read biography.” — Parade
“Definitive.” — The New York Times

51DcORlPpjLOn May 25, 1977, a problem-plagued, budget-straining, independent science-fiction film opened in a mere thirty-two American movie theaters. Conceived, written, and directed by a little-known filmmaker named George Lucas, the movie originally called The Star Wars quickly drew blocks-long lines, bursting box office records, and ushering in a new way for movies to be made, marketed, and merchandised. It has become one of the most adored–and successful–movie franchises of all time.

Now, the author of the bestselling biography Jim Henson delivers a long-awaited, revelatory look into the life and times of the man who created Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Darth Vader.

If Star Wars wasn’t game-changing enough, Lucas went on to establish another blockbuster series with Indiana Jones, and he completely transformed the world of special effects and the way movies sound. His innovation and ambition forged Pixar and Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and THX sound.

Here, Lucas’s colleagues and competitors offer tantalizing glimpses into his life. His entire career has been stimulated by innovators including Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, actors such as Harrison Ford, and the very technologies that enabled the creation of his films–and allowed him to keep tinkering with them long after their original releases. Like his unforgettable characters and stories, his influence is unmatched.

Available from booksellers everywhere, including:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound
iTunes

Click here for more reviews.


JIM HENSON: THE BIOGRAPHY (2013)

The New York Times National Bestseller
Goodreads Choice Award Winner: Best Biography of 2013
A Bookpage Book of the Year
One of CNN’s Top 10 Books of the Year
A 2013 Plutarch Award Finalist for Biography of the Year

“Masterful.” Kirkus
“Illuminating.” The Atlantic
“Compulsively readable.” — The A.V. Club
“Insightful.” — Parade

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For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson.

He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.

This extraordinary biography—written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family—covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi; through the years of burgeoning fame in Washington D.C., New York, and London; to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson’s family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives (including never-before-seen interviews, business documents, and Henson’s private letters), Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten-year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones provides the imaginative context for Henson’s non-Muppet projects, including the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth—as well as fascinating misfires like Henson’s dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub or staging an elaborate all-puppet Broadway show.

An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this American original: the master craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on television, the savvy businessman whose dealmaking prowess won him a reputation as “the new Walt Disney,” and the creative team leader whose collaborative ethos earned him the undying loyalty of everyone who worked for him. Here also is insight into Henson’s intensely private personal life: his Christian Science upbringing; his love of fast cars, high-stakes gambling, and expensive art; and his weakness for women. Though an optimist by nature, Henson was haunted by the notion that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life—a fear that his heartbreaking final hours would prove all too well founded.

An up-close look at the charmed life of a legend, Jim Henson gives the full measure to a man whose joyful genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture—and continues to beguile audiences worldwide.

Available from booksellers everywhere, including:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
iTunes
Random House/Ballantine

Click here for more reviews.


WASHINGTON IRVING: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL (2008)

Winner of the St. Nicholas Society of New York’s Medal for Literary Excellence

“Charming.” — New York Times
“Definitive.” — Providence Journal
“Engaging.” — The Washington Post Book World
“Authoritative.” — Associated Press

washingtonirvingamericanoriginal2The definitive biography of the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip van Winkle,” quintessential New Yorker, presidential confidant, diplomat, lawyer, and endlessly fascinating charmer.

The first American writer to make his pen his primary means of support, Washington Irving rocketed to fame at the age of 26. In 1809 he published A History of New York under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker to great acclaim. The public’s appetite for all things Irving was insatiable; his name alone guaranteed sales. At the time, he was one of the most famous men in the world, a friend of Dickens, Hawthorne, and Longfellow, as well as Astor, van Buren, and Madison. But his sparkling public persona was only one side of this gentleman author.

In brilliant, meticulous strokes Brian Jay Jones renders Washington Irving in all his flawed splendor – someone who fretted about money and employment, suffered from writer’s block, and doggedly cultivated his reputation. Jones offers as never before a very human portrait of the often contrasting public and private lives of this true American original.

Available from booksellers everywhere, including:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kindle
IndieBound

Click here for more reviews.

2 responses to “Books

  1. Pingback: Two Weeks To Go… | Brian Jay Jones

  2. Pingback: Muppet Monday | Bjorn Munson

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